What is a By-Election?
A by-election is a bit like a mini-general election, held in a single constituency to decide upon a new MP, following the seat becoming ‘vacant’ between two general elections. They are usually held because the incumbent MP has resigned, died or been convicted for a serious criminal offence.
Following the seat becoming vacant a date will be set for a ‘by-election’ and candidates will be chosen to represent the Political Parties who wish to stand.
There will be a short campaign period, where candidates will try to persuade the constituents to vote for them on the day of the by-election. This may include leafleting, talking to constituents and high profile MPs visiting the constituency.
There is often a lot of attention paid to by-election by the media, as sometimes the outcomes could have an influence on the make-up of a party in Parliament, or in more marginal seats could provide insight into public sentiment on certain issues.
On election day voters go to the polls to decide who will be the new MP for their area. (Not sure why you should vote? Find out why here).
According to the Parliament website, until a new MP is elected, constituency matters are handled by an MP of the same party in a neighbouring constituency.
You can also have council By-Elections, if a Councillor steps down from their role.